Character Analysis Of Elisa Allen In 'The Chrysanthemums'

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Elisa Allen is a strong thirty-five-year-old woman who lives with her husband, Henry Allen, on a ranch in the Salinas Valley. Elisa is the main character in “The Chrysanthemums” who goes through a lot of changes in the story and although she is an interesting, strong, and passionate woman, she lives an unsatisfying and uneventful life. In the beginning of the story, Henry is shown talking to some men about business. The author shows Elisa constantly glancing at the men, yet she just tends to her garden. Elisa wants more in her life than gardening but she does not make this known, which is why Henry tells Elisa she has a gift with gardening. Elisa gives Henry a sharp look and states, “I’ve a gift with things all right. My mother had it. She…show more content…
Elisa sees the flowers that she gave the tinker and realizes she got used. The only reason why the tinker was being nice to her was to gain some money. At this moment, Elisa goes back to her former self. Seeing the chrysanthemums on the roadside symbolize her loss of hope for a better future. After the incident, Elisa loses her independence and become intimidated by gender roles once again. For example, when she finds the chrysanthemums on the ground, she suddenly starts thinking about the boxing matches that are in town. Elisa starts asking questions to her husband about the boxing matches, however, Henry is so used to his wife being passive that he does not understand her questions. Henry states, “What’s the matter, Elisa? Do you want to go? I don’t think you’d like it, but I’ll take you if you really want to go” (364). Elisa, in the end, turns him down because she feels the boxing matches are too exciting for her life and decides having wine during dinner is enough. This shows us that since seeing the chrysanthemums on the ground, Elisa’s outlook on her life has changed; like the beginning of the story, she feels she is not an interesting, passionate, or strong woman anymore, which leads her back to living a dull and unsatisfying
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